As you’ll know if you follow me on twitter, this June I’m aiming to complete the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild challenge. It’s a great way to reconnect with nature on a daily basis, and I’m already seeing the benefits of being more relaxed and grounded, so I’d definitely recommend joining in. I’m going to be doing a weekly round-up to keep you up to speed, and to give me the opportunity for some shameless self-promotion.
Day 1 – Warton Crag
I spent the first day of June doing dissertation fieldwork on nearby Warton Crag, a nature reserve and local biodiversity hotspot on the eastern edge of Morecambe Bay. Although the weather was blustery and chilly, it wasn’t cold enough to deter the swarms of marmalade hoverflies. The occasional patches of sunlight were taken advantage of by a common lizard and several (common blue?) damselflies, pictured, which seemed a little out of place on the pond- and stream-devoid Crag. I’ve got a whole blog post about that here, if you want to find out more/see a picture of an adorably cute lizard.
Day 2 – canalside walk
Friday broke gloomy and damp, but I took advantage of a lull in the drizzle at lunchtime to take a walk along the canal near my house. It was lovely to see the ducklings, and to try my hand at tree ID (I think this one was a wych elm). I enjoyed how relaxing it was to get away from the constant screens and streams of bad news, so it’s definitely something I want to keep doing.
Day 3 – countryside
In contrast to the previous day, Saturday was sunny and warm (if still a little breezy). I decided to take a walk along the road out of town, which I’ve wanted to explore for the past year but ‘never got around to’ – bad excuse, I know. I found the countryside a lot closer than I expected – just a 10-minute walk away – complete with beautiful landscapes, views to the Lake District, nesting lapwings, partridges, and buzzards circling overhead. Closer to home, I looked at some of the roadside vegetation, finding cock’s-foot, goatsbeard, and yellow corydalis on just about every wall.
Day 4 – an unexpected visitor
Though I intended to take a walk to the park on Sunday, poor weather but a bit of a damper on that plan. Fortunately, the overnight rain had driven several moths inside, including a small brown one which had taken up residence inside the toilet (thankfully noticed), and a beautiful brimstone moth on the stairs – which I’d never seen before, despite being fairly common.
Day 5 – bee-friended
Monday’s weather was horrendous (at least I thought to call a rain check on a second visit to the Crag, which could potentially have drowned me). I spent my day trapped inside, reading journal papers and drinking coffee, and watching the entire series of BBC’s Africa on Netflix. Again, the clouds cleared up briefly over lunchtime, allowing me to make some small friends in the form of bees, like this tree bumblebee.
Day 6 – rainy day
If Monday was wet, Tuesday was completely saturated, which I partly blame on my friend having a barbecue (seriously – have you ever been to an English barbecue where it didn’t rain at some point?). The most joy I could take from this was that at least the plants in the garden would be enjoying this after the unusually dry May, and perhaps our tiny garden pond would refill (having gone completely dry in April as the flag irises started growing).
Day 7 – back to the Crag
Wednesday, while still cold and windy, was at least fairly dry, so I seized the chance to go back up to Warton Crag and do some more fieldwork. Although the famous butterflies were little in evidence (especially on top of the Crag, where standing upright became a constant challenge), the heavier hoverflies and bumblebees, less likely to be blown off-course, were everywhere, enjoying the (very few) bramble and thistle flowers that had managed to open this early in the year. Hopefully some good weather will come my way, and I’ll be able to get some proper data collection in the bag. By the way – have you noticed this post’s bee theme yet?
So, that’s it for week one of June, and I’m already glad I decided to do this challenge. Let’s hope for plenty more exciting encounters with nature in the near future. Until next time,
Have you had any special wildlife experiences in the last week? Leave a comment down below!